June 24, 2011

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is sponsored by the Minnesota salsa company Curt's Salsa, whose stuff I've enjoyed on several occasions and personally recommend ...

UPDATE: I'll have more later/Monday, but for now ... Justin Morneau is having neck surgery.

• Needless to say I've been doing it for comedic purposes too. Just not intentionally.

• My mom's favorite news of the week/month/year/decade/century.

Mary-Louise Parker in a uniform, playing baseball. That's all.

• The local media has been rough on Kevin Slowey, but at least he doesn't play in Atlanta.

• I've become a Bruce Springsteen fan relatively recently, but even before learning to really appreciate all the great music Clarence Clemons made I was always a fan of The Big Man for his heroic attempts to woo Robin Quivers. She missed out on the chance to be the sixth wife at his funeral.

Ryan Dunn also passed away this week, which made me really sad because I'd just watched (and enjoyed) the third Jackass movie and then made me really mad when I read the details of his death. Epic beard, funny guy, unfortunate end.

• Supermodel mom shows up to her kid's school looking like a supermodel, causing a blogger's head to explode.

• For the journalism school graduates out there: 1500-ESPN is looking to hire a beat reporter to cover Gophers sports for their website, which is a great opportunity.

• Last week I wondered why Idris Elba "isn't in everything, ever." This week he replaced Tom Cruise in a Guillermo del Toro-directed movie. Never doubt the power of Link-O-Rama.

• In the span of one year Harris Wittels has gone from leaving Link-O-Rama comments here to writing articles for Grantland. #humblebrag

• This ranks as Megan Fox's worst decision since getting all those tattoos.

• Speaking of bad decisions: Jamey Toney versus Ken Shamrock.

Sebastian Pruiti from NBA Playbook wrote an incredibly detailed Ricky Rubio scouting report that includes charts, video, and hardcore numbers. Must-read stuff, although I'm still skeptical and the incredible amount of hype is setting him up to disappoint early on.

• By far the highlight of Rubio's introductory press conference was Dana Wessel of 1500-ESPN reacting to Sid Hartman asking a question:

Someone really needs to start a blog devoted exclusively to pictures of other media members reacting to Hartman doing things. If nothing else I'd link to it every week.

• Does anyone know if David Kahn truly made Kurt Rambis write a report before firing him? If so, Rambis ought to add one final chapter and post that sucker online. Kahn isn't much of a general manager, but it takes some special talent to make people feel sorry for a coach who went 32-132. He made the right call picking Derrick Williams, at least.

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press displays the "Kahn is talking again" face.

Dwane Casey, who never should have been let go by the Timberwolves in the first place, is now the Raptors' new coach. Casey was 20-20 when the Timberwolves fired him--in the middle of a season, no less--and they've gone 90-280 since then.

Joe Morgan is getting his own radio show just in time to comment on the Moneyball movie.

Rashida Jones is making a strong push for Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com contender status.

• My latest podcast discovery is "Walking The Room" with Dave Anthony and Greg Behrendt, which is as funny as two guys sitting in a room talking to each other while eating Tim Tams can possibly be and has quickly become a must-listen for me.

Good news for Mad Men fans, but that seems like an awful lot of money for the 1960s.

• In my mind, this whole mess started with Jim Riggleman asking Mike Rizzo: "Where do you see this relationship going?"

UPDATE: It looks like Riggleman rebounded well enough.

• It seems sort of crazy to me that there are rankings for the best 15-year-old baseball teams in Minnesota, but my uncle is excited because he's coached Hopkins to No. 6 on the same list that has the Scott Leuis-coached Plymouth/Wayzata team at No. 4 and the Anthony LaPanta-coached Totino Grace team at No. 10. If they crack the top five maybe I'll calculate everyone's Wins Above Replacement.

• I ate here twice this week with a total of 15 people and without exception they liked it.

• As someone who recently became slightly less fat, I enjoyed the "Put This On" episode about finding clothes that fit better.

• I'd quit my diet just to eat this ice cream.

• Will manager Ned Yost's friendship with Jeff Foxworthy offset the Royals' young talent?

• I talked Michael Cuddyer, pennant races, and All-Star picks with not one, but two Seidmans.

• I'm addicted to WhatIfSports.com's great Hardball Dynasty game and my league has a pair of franchises open with the new season set to begin next week. Hardball Dynasty is not fantasy baseball and in fact has nothing to do with fantasy baseball. It's much better. From rookie-ball to the majors it's an incredibly detailed simulation of running a fictional MLB organization, with fictional players and everything from the Rule 5 draft to international signings.

Due to the steep learning curve involved in the game and extensive time commitment required to master it we're looking first and foremost for owners with some previous Hardball Dynasty experience. Mostly, though, we're just looking for good owners and despite the sales pitch-like tone of this note I get absolutely nothing in return for someone signing up (except for a better league to enjoy, of course). If you're interested, let me know.

• Finally, in honor of Dunn this week's AG.com-approved music video is the theme song to the Jackass movies, "If You're Gonna Be Dumb" by Roger Alan Wade:

April 22, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• Every cop's fantasy, starring Sofia Vergara.

• Humble bragging is sweeping the nation and the Wall Street Journal talked to the man behind the phenomenon, Harris Wittels, who once upon a time left a comment here. #humblebrag

• I'm not sure what took them so damn long, but better late than never: NFL Network will be replacing Matt Millen and Joe Theisman with Mike Mayock for their Thursday night games.

• Quote of the week: Royals manager Ned Yost on Billy Butler wanting to play first base: "I'd like to be an astronaut."

• This was the same excuse I used for skipping class in college, with the only difference being that no one on the entire campus knew who I was.

Elisha Cuthbert is back on television. I'm unlikely to watch the former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com's new show, but I am fully committed to looking at any screen caps posted online.

• Friend of AG.com Phil Mackey has been named "best sports talk radio host" in Minnesota by City Pages, which is remarkable considering he didn't have a full-time on-air spot until leaving 1130-KFAN for 1500-ESPN about 18 months ago and might be even better covering the Twins as a beat reporter than he is as the co-host of an afternoon show. Not bad for a stat-head.

• Stat-head setup man? Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard reads Fan Graphs.

• As a white, point guard-playing kid I owned his Sacramento Kings jersey and proudly wore it while attempting ill-advised but fancy passes, so this news makes me feel both sad and old.

David Carr of the New York Times wrote an interesting profile of Michael Klingensmith, who has helped turn the Minneapolis Star Tribune around since taking over as publisher in mid-2008. He's a native Minnesotan and "a serious Twins fan" who utilizes "statistical data to help guide product improvements." And under his watch the newspaper is one of the few in the country on an upswing. Meanwhile, the St. Paul Pioneer Press' website sadly remains nearly unusable.

• As someone who greatly prefers using Tweetdeck to the actual Twitter interface I'm worried about what may happen now that Twitter is in talks to buy Tweetdeck for "around $50 million."

• Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison has become one of my favorite players thanks to his great tweeting.

• Not that you can tell a ton from a 92-second clip, but HBO's upcoming new series Lucky looks pretty good and it's definitely star-studded.

Bonus points for using the World Series of Poker intro jingle.

• Thanks to a government crackdown the online poker world has basically been ruined, leaving tons of people out of work, taking away recreational enjoyment from part-timers like me, and even impacting television programming on numerous channels.

• Now that online poker is banned I feel the same about playing poker as I do about hosting a podcast. I'd really like to do both, but ultimately it takes a backseat to my even stronger desire not to leave the house or invite relative strangers over to my house. Helluva catch-22.

Buster Posey's sister can out-hit your sister.

• My mom's all-time favorite athlete is much better at pistol-whipping than he was at dieting.

• After six weeks of dieting I'm down 40 pounds, which sounds misleadingly great because of how much weight fatsos like me have to shed in the first place. I'm still fat enough that telling someone how much weight I've lost only leads to them thinking: "And you still look this bad?!" I've been counting every calorie and working out an elliptical machine every day, but once my calorie intake loosens up a bit this alcohol-to-calorie chart will be very helpful.

• Up until six weeks ago I was one of the leading donut consumers in the country, yet I had no idea that many (and perhaps even most) people spell it "doughnut." I also had no idea that a "free year's supply of donuts" could cost you $237.

Bill Simmons continues to build an excellent writing staff for his upcoming ESPN-funded site, hiring Bill Barnwell away from Football Outsiders.

Evangeline Lilly is either pregnant or there will soon be a disheveled yet still incredibly great looking blond woman with an Australian accent looking for her son again. Whatever the case, I think we can all agree that the kid's name should be Aaron.

• Following the latest veteran media member to write a really dumb thing about sports, David Matthews of The Good Men Project wonders how long before more of the higher-quality online writers land full-time gigs and how many of them will be forced to quit in search of non-writing jobs that actually pay the bills. I've been fortunate in that respect, but many good writers are not as lucky and having to live on income from AG.com would have forced me to quit long ago.

• After reading this news I'm thinking about suing myself for being paid almost no money from 10 years of blogging here. We'd probably settle out of court.

• Speaking of real life getting in the way of good blogging, Stick and Ball Guy has hung up the keyboard. I enjoyed SBG's community of bloggers and readers so much that it remains the only other blog on which I've ever regularly posted comments and I also enjoyed attending several in-person get-togethers with SBG and friends. He'll be missed, but the community has decided to go on without SBG by starting up a spinoff site that is definitely worth checking out.

• I was surprised to learn that an average of just 22,000 television sets were tuned into each Timberwolves game this season and even more shocked to find out that didn't even rank them among the NBA's least-watched teams.

• I'm not sure $105 million in added risk makes much sense for the Brewers, but Ryan Braun is now signed through 2020.

• I'm excited that Friday Night Lights is back for a final season, although the scene in the first episode where the new guy dribbles and shoots free throws like he's never played the sport before despite supposedly being a basketball star has me re-thinking my love for the first four seasons. It might even keep me from bidding on more than a dozen items in this auction.

Vanessa Hudgens either needs to get much fatter or hire a new public relations person.

• Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested for allegedly stealing $60 in shirts from Macy's.

• When the Timberwolves fired Dwane Casey they were 20-20. They are 90-280 since then.

• I saw these guys do a presentation at last year's SABR convention. Very interesting stuff.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is The Black Keys doing "Heavy Soul" live:

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